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How to handle subject Phobia?

How to handle  subject Phobia?
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Taking away the fear of assessment of performance probably is the first step in handling phobia L...

Taking away the fear of assessment of performance probably is the first step in handling phobia sub2 L Shailaja Kumar What worse can happen? Does this disable the student from learning other things too? Often it is said that fear cripples the personality. Veena Raizada, educator and trainer says, fear of failure once experienced by the child can damage a child's self�esteem and child may drift away from trying again. It is mandatory for the teachers as well as parent to see 'what' the fear is all about. It may be related to numbers, concepts, spellings or anything that the child finds it challenging. Sonal Manjeethia, a Special Educator says, "If we look at the problem clinically this 'abnormality' for Maths is Dyscalculia and Dyslexia and if it is about reading, writing and comprehension. Sensory integration and attention deficit is the third disorder which affects all the areas of learning. She says there is certainly a link between learning difficulties and phobias hence it becomes mandatory to correct at the early stage itself. This will reduce the risk of the child being consumed by the problem. Sudha, mother of 11-year-old Aniket says her son's love towards the subject is directly proportional to the teacher. Since he likes and adores his English teacher, he emulates her and picked up fabulous communication skills too. On the other hand, his Maths teacher has a foul temper which keeps him away from the subject and the teacher too! So the sutra here is--I don't like the subject because I don't like the subject-teacher. We cannot expect kids of that age to be wise! Sonal says all the learning difficulties should be addressed by parents and teachers at an earlier age to reduce the risk of developing a phobia for related subjects. Here are a few solutions suggested by our experts (some are already being implemented) to the phobia menace�
  • Anxieties to learning need to be understood by teachers and parents both.
  • Learning environments, teaching methodologies need to cater to developments of skills for a specific subject.
  • Taking away the fear of assessment of performance probably is the first step.
  • Orientation and training of teachers to accommodate different learning styles is equally important.
  • Creating interesting, innovative and integrated learning environments for every subject is desired.
  • Relevance of learning of any subject to real life situations can help. I remember our Mathematics teacher sharing with us "How learning of geometry could help go for a career of architecture, setting up a manufacturing factory of packaging materials and so on.."
  • Self �paced learning, self-assessed and motivated is the key for today's techno savvy generation. Technology is and will help a lot provided it is used effectively, says Veena who remains a great source of inspiration for her teachers as well as students.
How can we counsel all those involved in this process, like teachers parents and especially students help overcome this fear? Veena and other content experts say technology could help us in developing confidence of students in learning Mathematics skills. Game based approach is really helpful for children with conditions of going for next higher levels of a game only after achieving a particular score. This keeps children motivated and boosts self �esteem too. Techy generation of today is good at it. Teacher can use it effectively. Activity based learning which is picking upacross schools certainly makes learning an interesting experience. "Slow and steady wins the race" might sound inappropriate but looking at it that regular and systematic study helps a child more than last one month before exams. Parents, therefore need to support children in a regular way. In typical India parlance 'spoon-feeding' must be discouraged and children should be urged to look for answers themselves says Bagya Kamal, who has two decades of teaching experience in Singapore, Indian and New Zealand curricula. Continuous assessments help students to take the exams in their stride rather than pouring over textbooks in the last minute, says Suresh , Vice Principal of a reputed International School. Adopting a healthy attitude towards skill development would help all. All our experts who shared their valuable inputs unanimously agreed that 'mind-set' change is a must to see and appreciate the problem. Also, before these fears turn into nightmares for students, parents and teachers, we must act upon it.
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